Gerard Byrne @ The Mead Gallery

This is a short review of  the event  Conversation with Gerard Byrne and the preview of 1/125 of a second his exhibition at Warwick Arts Centre.

This image below was taken from his exhibition at the Charles H Scott Gallery in Vancouver, Canada


but the layout was similar at the Mead, here.


The talk was useful but as I wasn’t really familiar with his work it was strange taking about pieces before seeing them.

He bases his work on place and the architectural features with their relationship to the culture at the time of building/ design.

He collages images and also spreads the resulting works over several monitors in the gallery adding a new layer of collage.

He states that he is looking for  complex encounter with the work and that it is not possible to see all the works in full on any one visit.

There was a ‘timetable’ of sequence of showings on the gallery wall…almost invisible and possibly written in pencil but it would be hard to plan a visit to watch a particular piece of work from that.

He described how our consumption of visual imagery is so effortless now through tv, video, Instagram…etc that he wanted the encounters to be ‘not effortless and not for consumption’

He explained how people’s relationships with images has changed since the growth of the internet and how we have reached ‘environmental saturation’.

He uses monitors to physically inhabit the space and bring in an awareness of the here and now.

Hie aims to create  a dialogical relationship with the work with almost theatrical timing. The configurations are created by collaboration with a software engineer who creates software specifically for the exhibitions.

This made name think back to our MA Group Skype chat the day before regarding the way that available Software affected creativity!

These ideas are very important for me in thinking about methods for display at the Final Show

There were several things that I felt applicable to my early efforts at film- making

  • He likes to keep some elements of the making of the work visible such as microphones and actors reading scripts. He describes this as ‘breaking the suspension of disbelief’ and playing with it. I’ll remember that phrase for constructing a lack of immediacy…I have used this previously in what I have made and like to do this for different reasons…bring into play a feeling of a witness’ being there’ and watching the event , so an external  presence within the location.
  • He also uses historical textual sources, which is something I’ve been doing recently... though not posted anything about yet.
  • He even includes stills or long takes of pages of books and magazines in the videos.
  • He messes around with the timing and perception within work. In particular this is seen in He searches for the contrary of saved ( 2014) which uses footage of  Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Here he runs clips backwards at high speed and includes the audio.This something I’d like to mess with.It has a strange dislocating but hypnotic effect.He talked also about ‘Confronting the Present  with the recent Past, to challenge the Present.’ He constantly works in a way contrary to the idea of an image “on line” at least I think that’s what he said…I can’t read my notes. Anyway he also uses no linear narrative.
  • One of the  pieces uses a slide projector with text and images on separate slides. Some of the slides are of pages from books, as I might already have mentioned.I timed the slides to see how long eachh was shown for to allow the text to be read. I reasoned that he’d already thought this through…. 5 seconds. Something to remember.

He spend a long time talking about a specially commissioned work for the Mead Film inside an Image which was created in and about the Biologist Museet in Stockholm which was the first natural history museum to use a diorama and taxidermies specimens of animals.I found this work was hypnotic and strangely, poignantly beautiful.

It seems to be filled on a continuous loop with no edits and he described that as being ‘interested in the idea of suspension, no rest, no point or counterpoint – breathless continuum ‘.

He used a suspended camera ( * Idea!!!)  to shoot the footage inside the Museum which is lit by natural light from skylights at the top. He saw this as like a film (from a camera) inside an image.

There is an audio track of live animal noises over the video over the taxidermy so the sound provides a dynamic active in conjunction with the inert and inactive visual.

From the point of view of analysis w.r.t. my own work He searches for the contrary of saved  ( a quote from Waiting for Godot) was the most useful and something I will reference.

I did catch some references in his work to the work of Niamh O’Malley who I saw at the Bluecoat in Liverpool. She is also based in Dublin so I’m sure there’s a link…

EDIT Yes They Have exhibited together!!! His Kodak Written Colour Filter System references her layered works…or vice versa….

It made me think of here double sided glass piece and possibly projecting on to this.. Something I have thought of before...(* Idea) but never done anything about..

Here is a still from the Lisson Gallery WebsiteBYRN140004-1





Today is my elder son’s 21st birthday…how did that happen? As his brother said ‘ a milestone’ … not only for him I’d say….

I’m also going to be travelling to Manchester later. The first time to the city in about 30 years apart from passing through on train journeys. I’m going to a family funeral in Salford and staying overnight with a cousin so, all in all, a significant couple of days which will be flooded with personal memories of childhood, family and University life and then all that followed will no doubt stream in.

I’ll try and detach myself a little from the process and watch it objectively and maybe even blog about it….

It’s particularly interesting as, because I am a single child (the  word ‘only’ has lots of cultural weighting…I prefer the Russian) I can share experiences of my family, friends, school etc with only a very few people; most of whom I never see as I moved away at 18. Already after a brief chat to ‘our Wayne’ on the phone he was reminiscing about the frogs in the pond in our garden and my father’s authoritarian style of child management!  More to follow. No doubt we will remember different events and the same events differently.

I’ll try to be objective but the results on here will be painted with a subjective and affective stroke.

Overlay or continuum?

Just had this posted through as I draft my proposal.

I will try and see it on Friday when I go to the velodrome for Revolution.

Schizophrenia and Taiwan 2.0 

Jung’s Theory of Synchronicity, once more as my old Pa would have said.

I have been writing about the overlay of past history and contemporary technological presence in locations which are significant to me.

This is an example which hadn’t occurred to me.

Taiwan ( Formosa during WWII) was the place my father was held prisoner by the Japanese from 1942/3 to 1945.

Some years ago I met a Taiwanese student, aged around 20, as we were both waiting for a train with our bikes on an otherwise deserted rural  railway station in Warwickshire.

As we were chatting I mentioned my father’s time there.

She knew nothing about it. It was not part of her history.

Much of the equipment I use from day-to-day probably uses components made or assembled there.

Overlay or continuum?